This semester I only get to see my classmates’ faces over Zoom. I don’t actually know what most of my co-workers’ smiles look like because we’re constantly wearing masks. Even so, even after months of isolation, I can’t begin to understand how alone Hagar felt in the desert. Afraid for her own safety and the safety of her unborn child, she fled from Sarai’s abuse, leaving her community for the desert. Many of us are lonely during this time. Many of us have been isolated from our communities, or separated from the ones we love. When Hagar felt utterly alone, with nothing but fear for herself and her baby, she learned that she could never really be alone.
God sent an angel to Hagar, who promised her the safety of her son. The angel told her that “the Lord has heard your misery.” (Genesis 16:11, NIV)
God noticed Hagar. He saw that she was in pain, and he soothed her fears. After hearing this, Hagar responded:
So she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”
— Genesis 16:13 ESV
Or as it’s written in the New International Version:
“I have now seen the One who sees me.”
— Genesis 16:13 NIV
You are seen. You are provided for. The same God who saw Hagar in the desert, in her loneliness and despair, sees you now. Some of us feel alone, but I encourage you to stop and pray. Thank God that he sees you when you are alone. Thank God that he hears you in your misery.
I also want to remind you that you are not alone in the desert. If you’re feeling isolated, remember that c|Life has a community waiting to embrace you. And if not c|Life, then know that there are churches all over that are full of other believers who crave fellowship with you. We invite you to explore safe ways to join the community and come together to be seen by the one who sees.